Wednesday, September 17, 2014

California Masonic Symposium Sept 20 and 21 in Two Locations

Please join the Grand Lodge of California for the 14th Annual California Masonic Symposium: Freemasonry and the Creation of the American Republic.

The American Republic is a unique experiment in self-government, and its roots are in part found in the Freemasonry of the 18th century. The 14th Annual California Masonic Symposium will explore how this experiment in self-government has evolved through the years since 1776, and how Masonic principles have continued to guide its development for almost 250 years. The presenters will show that Freemasonry has influenced the course of self-government in several significant ways.
Event Details
The Symposium will be held on two dates and in two locations, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • September 20, 2014 | San Francisco Scottish Rite Masonic Center | 2850 19th Avenue, San Francisco
  • September 21, 2014 | Pasadena Scottish Rite Cathedral | 150 North Madison Avenue, Pasadena  
There are two registration options:
  • Full Symposium Fee | includes symposium and lunch | $30 per person
  • Symposium Only Fee | includes symposium only | $15 per person 
To register, click on the "Registration" button located at the top and bottom of this page.
Presenters' papers and panelists' notes will be published online at freemason.org > member center > masonic education.

About the Symposium
Initiated in 2001, the California Masonic Symposium brings together students of Freemasonry and Masonic scholars in an atmosphere of learning and discussion.  Open to Masons and the public, this event addresses a topic of historical and philosophical relevance to Masonry each year.  Past Symposium topics have included Freemasonry in Mexico and Latin America; Freemasonry and Secret Societies; Issues in Contemporary Freemasonry; The Age of Franklin; The American Enlightenment; Freemasonry and the American Frontier; Freemasonry and Women; Applied Masonry; Masonry, Military and the Emergence of American Democracy; and The Emergence of Speculative Masonry.


The Symposium is sponsored by the Grand Lodge of California, the California Masonic Foundation and the Institute for Masonic Studies.


To register, click here.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Speaking Monday and Saturday

I'll be speaking Monday, September 15th in Nashville, TN at Doric Lodge No. 732, with refreshments at 6:00PM and the talk at 7:00PM. The lodge is located at 2101 21st Avenue South. There is no dress code, so wear something comfortable.

Then I will be traveling to Ottawa, Canada to speak to Templum Fidelis Lodge on Saturday, September 20th. The lodge will tyle at 4:00PM. Lodges in their jurisdiction open on the first degree, and they will be going up to the third degree to receive in in-lodge paper from their newest Master Mason.

After lodge closes, we will retire to the lower banquet hall, where we enjoy a traditional Agape, and I will speak between dinner and dessert. Templum Fidelis is a Traditional Observance lodge, and dress code is black tie tuxedo.

For more information go to http://www.TemplumFidelis.com/

Contact the event planner no later than the 16th to confirm dinner reservations.

Looking forward to the coming week!


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Masonic Society and Philalethes Society Joint Symposium This Saturday

This is one final reminder that it is not too late to register for the Masonic Society/Philalethes Society Symposium this Saturday, September 13 at the Valley of Chicago Scottish Rite Cathedral in Bloomingdale, IL. Registration begins at 9:00 A.M. You may register on on the website or simply show up at the Scottish Rite on Saturday morning with $15.00. Registration for the banquet has closed. If you find yourself unexpectedly available, please join them for a great day of education and fellowship. 

There are five speakers in total. During the day: "Masonic Historical Research and Presentation," Alton G. Roundtree "The Role of Music and Song in Traditional Freemasonry," Shawn Eyer "The Mystery of Oak Island," Steven L. Harrison "Freemasonry and Law Enforcement: Compatible or Conflicting?" by Mark Robbins And the keynote speaker during the banquet is Andrew Hammer, author of Observing the Craft. The costs are: Symposium (Includes Continental Breakfast) $15.00.

Register here. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/masonic-society-philalethes-society-symposium-tickets-7769802689https://www.eventbrite.com/e/masonic-society-philalethes-society-symposium-tickets-7769802689

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Self-declared 'king' who tried to burn Masonic lodge not guilty by reason of insanity


Cincinnati Lodge No. 3 in Morristown, New Jersey narrowly escaped being burned to the ground last year, thanks to the bravery of RW Brother Drew Jardine.

From NJ.com by Ben Horowitz: 
A Morris Township (New Jersey) man who was accused of trying to set the Morristown Masonic Lodge on fire — and who later told a judge he was a king — was found not guilty Tuesday by reason of insanity.John Mowbray, 53, had faced charges including aggravated attempted arson and burglary in connection with two break-ins at the lodge on Feb. 7 and 8, 2013.During a bail hearing a few days later, Mowbray said he was a king and maintained "this form of judicial system does not apply to me."Mowbray was initially declared incompetent to stand trial. But after a year of treatment at the Ann Klein Forensic Center, a state psychiatric hospital in West Trenton, a therapist said he was mentally competent.Superior Court Judge Robert Gilson in Morristown announced the verdict Tuesday following a short trial in which both sides agreed on the facts of the case and on Mowbray's mental state -- he was not sane at the time of the incident.Gilson, reading from reports by psychiatrists and police, for the first time gave an account of why Mowbray targeted the Masons.Mowbray, who damaged a grandfather clock at the lodge on Feb. 7 and then returned with gasoline containers to burn it down on Feb. 8, believed the Masons had stolen the clock from his grandfather and had also killed his grandfather, Gilson said.Mowbray, a schizophrenic, was "acutely psychotic" and believed the Masons and the Knights of Columbus were involved in a conspiracy to torture him, the judge said.During the second break-in, lodge member Andrew Jardine contacted police to report a "burglary in progress" and also "engaged in a fight" with Mowbray, Gilson said.The gas containers were found on the porch and Jardine told police that Mowbray said he "intended to burn the building down," Gilson said.Gilson cited a psychiatrist's report that said Mowbray has "regained competence" during treatment. However, he said, if Mowbray fails to take his medications, he will again be a "danger to himself and to others."Mowbray will return to Ann Klein pending another evaluation and a court hearing on his placement in 30 days.His attorney, John Whipple, said his family is hoping he may be placed at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in Parsippany, which would be "closer to home."Mowbray was previously found not guilty by reason of insanity in a 2008 Warren County case, according to court officials. He had been accused of leading police on a motor vehicle chase and striking two officers with his car, according to a Morris County assistant prosecutor.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Georgia Lodge Fire Believed To Be Arson

From WSB-TV in Atlanta:

Douglas County [Georgia] Fire investigators have confirmed the fire that destroyed the Flint Mill Masonic Lodge Friday morning was arson.
The fire began around 2 a.m. Friday at the Masonic Lodge on Highway 5 in Douglasville. No injuries were reported.
The investigation is ongoing, but the building is now considered a crime scene. A multi-agency investigation will continue.
A $10,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the arson. Any person with information is asked to call 911 to be connected to investigators with the Douglas County Fire Department and Sheriff's Department.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Freemasonry Still Alive And Well, And (Mostly) Men-Only

From today on NPR:

The members of the Queen Anne Masonic Lodge near downtown Seattle are on the young side. The guy in charge is 26.Danny Done, the lodge's worshipful master, is lounging on his designated chair in the room reserved for private ceremonies.His title comes with a top hat, though he avoids putting it on — he says it makes him look dorky. But he does like other aspects of Masonic regalia, like his Templar sword. Done uses it to point to a diagram on the wall that charts out the different kinds of Masonry."Here, you have the first three degrees of Masonry," he explains, motioning to the chart. "Which gets you to, basically, the beginning step of this section, which is called the Scottish rite. And the Scottish rite was invented from a lecture series by a Scotsman in France."Yes, one of America's oldest fraternities, the Masons, is still around. And in a conversation with Done, you quickly find they aren't nearly as secretive as you'd hoped — particularly in Washington state. Rules in each state are set by a "Grand Lodge," and Washington's claims to be relatively liberal in the rules governing what can be shared about the organization's ceremonies.There's so much information on the Internet about those rituals, many Masons say, that there's little point in being mysterious about them. Forging In-Person Connections In An Online WorldFor Done, the appeal of Freemasonry is pretty basic. "A lot of my best friends are here, and all of their friends typically come around, too, and it just becomes a really interesting social network that's not online," he says.A generation ago, Freemasonry began to decline, and many of the fraternity's buildings around the country were being turned into movie theaters. Membership in the U.S. fell from almost 4.1 million in 1960 to about 1.3 million in 2012. While membership is still falling, those declines have been less steep in recent years."Twenty years ago, I would not have been optimistic," says William Moore, a scholar of American Freemasonry who teaches American studies at Boston University. "I would have said, 'Yes, they were relics of a time that's left behind.' "But historically, he says, the fraternity does well during times of economic instability for men. The U.S. is in that kind of time right now.And some millennials, Moore says, are looking for the kind of long-lasting commitment available in a lodge."They know that those men will be their brothers no matter what their economic structure is," Moore says. "So they know that they can change jobs five, six, seven times in their careers, but they won't be changing the lodge they belong to; they won't be changing the men who are their fraternal brothers."On a warm Saturday, 150 brothers are on their lunch break in a private Masonic park about an hour outside of Seattle. They're in the woods, but they're also wearing suits, because they're here for the outdoor version of the Masonic initiation ceremony.There are brothers here from Prince Hall lodges, which are historically African-American, as well as brothers from Canada. In fact, the grand master of British Columbia, Philip Durell, is here — his proper title is grand master of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient and Accepted Freemasons of British Columbia and Yukon.Still 'Just Guys'If you ask Durell about the fraternity's rule excluding women, he admits that it's "tough to defend." But, he says, the rule means a lot to the brothers. "Men behave differently when women are there. And they don't open up the same way as they will when it's just guys there."A few lodges in the U.S. do initiate women, but they're not recognized by the more traditional Masons. The organization instead points to special sister organizations for women, like the Order of the Eastern Star, and the fact that wives are often part of a lodge's social life — they just can't take part in the ceremonies.So back at the Masonic Family Park, the women do crafts while the men hold their ceremony. Vicky Roberts, the wife, or "lady," of Washington state's grand master, says she doesn't resent being excluded."Men are generally not as social as ladies are," she says. "They get stressed out — they don't really make the time that the ladies do to connect with other men."The men need that time, Roberts says. And besides, she adds, the women are probably having a better time in their part of the campground, eating and chatting, while the men spend the day in the woods, sweating in their suits.

Lodge Reunited With Jewels Stolen 150 Years Ago

From WVUE Channel 8 in New Orleans, by Dave McNamara:
Symbols are an important part of the fraternity of Masons. They adorn Masonic lodges, and members wear the emblems or jewels. The Masonic lodge in Greensburg dates back to the early 1850s. During the Civil War, Union troops took over the Greensburg lodge, and when the troops left Louisiana, something very valuable left with them.
"We knew that the lodge had been used as a barracks and that it was pretty well looted, you know, at the time of the Civil War," said Lodge Master Chuck Coburn. "That was in our history."
The stolen items included pure silver artifacts. All have deep meaning to the Masonic brothers.
"I like to make a comparison to them like a family heirloom," Coburn said.
For 150 years, the jewels were missing and presumed to be lost forever. But early this year, they resurfaced at a Masonic lodge in California.
"I was presented with these jewels that were given to us by a retiring or elderly brother who had them for apparently many years that were passed down to him and given to his father because he was a Mason," said Jeff Hertig lodge master at the Consuelo Lodge.
"We happened to have gotten along with the jewels a small 100-year-old note written by someone giving us some names to get the investigation started," said George Tegart, also with Consuelo .
"The note said they came from Charles Harvey, a soldier from Kane County, Illinois.
Harvey was later transferred into Company K of the Illinois 15th Calvary Regiment and ended up in this area around the end, around the early parts of 1864. A reading of Louisiana Masonic archives showed that the Greensburg lodge was missing its jewels.
"That was really a big eureka moment, all my gosh, we know who lost them," Tegart said.
California's Consuelo Lodge traveled to Greensburg, and in a special Masonic ceremony, hand over a long lost jewels.
But the jewels aren't the only things this group has lost over the years. The lodge in Greensburg burned down in 1950. Every single artifact in the building was lost. And that makes these historic jewels even more important.

Man Sentenced For Trying To Burn Down Toledo, Ohio Masonic Center

From today's Toledo (Ohio) Blaze:
A local man was sentenced Tuesday to four months at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio for trying to set fire to the Toledo Masonic Complex, which will be followed by six months at the Correctional Treatment Facility in Toledo.Nathan Wietrzykowski, 25, of 817 Ketcham Ave., also was placed on community control for five years by Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Frederick McDonald. He had pleaded no contest Aug. 12 to attempted arson for throwing a brick and a Molotov cocktail through a window at the Secor Road complex on May 21.Patricia Wardrop, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, said that Masonic Complex representatives were shaken by the incident and a similar one on June 2.Wietrzykowski invoked his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent when the judge asked him why he had targeted the complex. The judge ordered that he have no contact with the victim as a condition of his community control.



Saturday, August 23, 2014

Century City, California's Square and Compasses

Century City, California joins Washington DC,  Baghdad, Iraq, Sandusky, Ohio, Rome, Brussels and Paris in having a square and compasses in the street map - this time with an all seeing eye.


Amazing the things you can spot from space.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

Masonic Restoration Foundation Symposium August 15-17, 2014

I will be the subject of a question and answer period luncheon at the fifth annual Masonic Restoration Foundation annual symposium in Cincinnati on this Saturday, August 16th at 11:30AM. The Symposium will be held at the Cincinnati Masonic Center at 315 East 5th Street between August 15-17th. The Symposium will feature speakers and workshops focussed on enabling Masons and Lodges to improve their Masonic experiences.

The 2014 MRF Symposium will by co-hosted by four lodges, which represent the spectrum of new Lodges that have been formed over the last decade.  Lodge Vitruvian No. 767 (IN) and Caliburn Lodge No. 785 (OH) are European Concept Lodges.  Lodge Ad Lucem No. 812 (PA) is a Traditional Observance Lodge, and Arts & Sciences Lodge No. 792 (OH) is very much a blend of both styles of lodges with a emphasis on educational discussions in Lodge.  Each Lodge will host a signature event during the Symposium to showcase one of their core practices.

This will be a brothers only event. There is no ladies program.

Besides myself, guest speakers at the Symposium include Brothers Oscar Alleyne, Michael Clevenger, Robert Davis, Robert Herd, Shawn Eyer, Paul Smith, and Andrew Hammer. There will be a Festive Board hosted by Lodge Vitruvian No. 767, a Lodge of EAs hosted by Arts and Sciences Lodge No. 792, a Pennsylvania Master Mason degree hosted by Lodge Ad Lucem No. 2, a Scotch Harmony hosted by Caliburn Lodge No. 785, and a Sunday morning panel discussion, as well as speeches and workshops throughout the weekend. There will also be a marketplace.

The Symposium is open to all Master Masons in good standing of Lodges under Grand Lodges recognized by the North American Conference of Grand Masters.  Attendees must register and the cost of registration is $100.

The headquarters hotel will be the Holiday Inn Cincinnati Airport Hotel, located at 1717 Airport Exchange Blvd, Erlanger, Kentucky, and the Symposium's Friday and Saturday sessions will be held at the Cincinnati Masonic Center.  Sunday's morning session will be held in the Hamilton room of the hotel.

All Symposium attendees will enjoy the Festive Board banquet on Friday.  Lunch will be provided on Saturday as will appetizers during the Scotch Harmony.  Saturday evening will be an opportunity for attendees to sample the many area restaurants on their own. 

For more information, see the Symposium website by clicking here.


I hope you can join us.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Rubicon Masonic Dinner Club, Lexington, KY 8/14

On Thursday, August 14, 2014, the Rubicon Masonic Dinner Club will hold its 2nd annual Festive Board in Lexington, Kentucky, featuring Worshipful Brother Andrew Hammer as the guest speaker. It will be held at Spindletop Hall, 3414 Iron Works Pike in Lexington. The reception begins at 6:30PM, and dinner will begi at 7:45PM. Black tie optional, coat and tie required.

Reserve your seat by sending your name, lodge affiliation, telephone, e-mail, address and check for $100 to: RMDC, PO Box 21836, Lexington, KY 40522-18236. For more information see The Craftsman website at www.thecraftsman.org.

Worshipful Brother Hammer is the Past Master of Alexandria-Wahington Lodge No. 22 in Alexandria, Virginia, and the author of Observing the Craft.

This event takes place on the Thursday prior to the Masonic Restoration Foundation Symposium inCincinnati, and attendees are invited to join Rubicon for dinner. Lexington is about 90 miles south of Cincinnati, and Sprindletop hall is located about a mile east of I-75 South at the Kentucky Horse Park exit.

My Apologies to My Kentucky Brethren

I was scheduled to speak at the William O. Ware Lodge of Research in Covington, KY last night. On the drive over I lost the serpentine belt on the Dummies wagon, and it took nearly three hours to get a tow to the nearest dealer. Fortunately I was only about 25 minutes out of Covington. Master Rob Smith came to my rescue and met me at the dealership. He got me to the lodge by 9:00PM and I got to give my speech to the 30 or so brethren who stayed to wait. My heartfelt thanks to Worshipful Brother Rob and to the brethren who stayed, and their warm hospitality. My deepest apologies to those who couldn't remain. Believe me, I was just as upset as you, if not more so. There's nothing more frustrating than car trouble and the helplessness one feels while at the mercy of emergency road service in an unfamiliar part of the country.

I'm waiting now at the dealership in West Harrison, Indiana. As an added bonus, the hood wouldn't open, so they had to remove the grille to get it open. Oh, and they found a tire that needs to be replaced. This is going to be an expensive trip. Arrgh.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Freemasonry in France

Getting ready to head for Cincinnati, but I just came across this article in Bloomberg about French Freemasonry:

Magazines and newspapers all have stories they run in one form or another, year in, year out. The details may differ, but the stories are largely the same everywhere, striking universal chords of sex, health, and money. A few of these perennials, however, don’t travel. They drill deep into one country’s psyche while everyone else scratches their head and says, “Huh?”
In France, the story that keeps coming back is about Freemasons. It’s everywhere. Most big French magazines run at least one big Freemason cover a year. Books dissect the “state within a state,” to borrow from a recent title. Blogs abound.
“France has several of these marronniers—chestnuts,” says Alain Bauer, former grand master of France’s Grand Orient lodge and president Nicolas Sarkozy’s Masonic liaison. “There’s real estate prices and there’s how to cure headaches, and then there’s Freemasons. The ultimate French magazine story is a Freemason with a headache who’s moving. We don’t like these stories, but at the same time, we love them, because they make us feel like we’re still important.”

Read more here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

William O. Ware Lodge of Research, Covington, KY July 30th

I'll be speaking at the William O. Ware Lodge of Research No. 999 in Covington, Kentucky (just outside of Cincinnati) on July 30th at 7:30. Looking forward to it!

Meanwhile, Alice and I will be in San Antonio, TX this week for the Romance Writers of America convention.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Kansas City, MO Scottish Rite Temple Radio Interview

Catch the radio interview on KCUR in Kansas City, MO about the history of the Kansas City Scottish Rite Temple. Featured are Will Moore, author of Masonic Temples, and Bob Harmon, personal representative of the SGIG Valley of Kansas City.

Click here.

Former Treasurer Accused of Stealing $37,000 From Wisconsin Lodge

An Omro man accused of taking funds from the Omro Masons and using them to renovate his residence is now facing criminal charges.
From the Northwestern.com website in Wisconsin:
John R. Hoeft, 64, is charged in Winnebago County Circuit Court with theft from a business setting of more than $10,000. If convicted, he faces 10 years in prison and $25,000.
According to the criminal complaint, Hoeft was the treasurer for the Masonic Lodge in Omro when the organization's charter was stripped it was taken over by the Royal Arch Masons State Chapter due to low enrollment. In the process, the Omro chapter's financial records were examined and it was discovered nearly $40,000 was missing.
Further examination revealed that between August 2011 and October 2012, nine checks were written to either Hoeft or JRH Promotions, Hoeft's business. The checks totaled $36,893. The checks were all signed by Hoeft and three were also signed by Raymond Hoeft, who was also a member of the organization.
When police spoke with a trustee of the Omro Masons, he said membership was so low, only the Hoefts and himself were present at meetings and no financial decisions were made. He said the checks were never approved.
Hoeft told police he became aware in June 2012 that the Omro Masons would be losing their charter due to low enrollment He said over the course of one-and-a-half years, he deposited money into his account or the JRH Promotions account from the Omro Mason's account to pay for renovations on his house, mostly for windows and doors.
Hoeft acknowledged he did not have the Mason's permission to use the money for renovations. He also told police that although his father, Raymond Hoeft, pre-signed the checks, he did not know what they were used for. Raymond Hoeft died in December 2012.
Hoeft will make his first court appearance on July 28.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Masonic Society and Philalethes Team Up Sept. 13th, 2014

The Masonic Society and The Philalethes Society will co-sponsor a Masonic symposium on September 13, 2014 to be held at the Valley of Chicago Scottish Rite Cathedral in Bloomingdale, IL. The symposium will feature four presentations and will conclude with a banquet that evening. Scheduled to make presentations are Alton Roundtree, Editor of The Phylaxis , Shawn Eyer, Editor of The Philalethes Society Maganzine, Steven Harrison, Editor of The Missouri Freemason, and Mark Robbins, Education Officer for the Grand Lodge of Minnesota. Andrew Hammer, author of Observing the Craft, will be the keynote speaker at the banquet.
Registration is $15.00, which includes a Continental breakfast, and all Freemasons are invited. The catering for the banquet is still being arranged and the ticket price and menu will be available within a few days. Registration for the symposium will begin on Friday, July 18 and will be available only at the Eventbrite website below. There will be no mail or telephone reservations available.
Within a few days, there will be a webpage that will provide all of the details including more extensive biographies of the presenters and a brief synopsis of their presentations. This will be an enjoyable day of education and fellowship. There will be one hundred reservations available. Please share this information with your brethren and Masonic organizations.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

UGLE Restores Recognition of GLNF

The United Grand Lodge of England on June 11th has restored recognition of the Grande Loge Nationale Française, according to François Koch on his La Lumiere blog.  Several US grand lodges, including Indiana, have restored recognition of the embattled GLNF already after they gave former Grand Master Stifani the boot and did much internal work to fix their problems. But for the UGLE to re-recognize GLNF is major news, making the GLNF again the only major recognized grand lodge (of a dozen or so) in France. This should come as a relief to the brethren of France.

H/T to Mohamad Yatim

Monday, June 09, 2014

Indiana Lodges and the Indianapolis Colts Team Up

The Grand Lodge of Indiana is partnering with the Indianapolis Colts to offer our membership a very exciting opportunity! Mark your calendars for Saturday, August 23rd at 8 pm for Masonic Day at Lucas Oil Stadium! This is not only a fun event for our membership but also an extraordinary opportunity to spread the word about Indiana Freemasonry in a very big way. 

This prime time game against the New Orleans Saints will begin at 8 pm and will be televised on CBS. The first 400 freemasons (18 and older) who purchase tickets will get to go on field in full regalia for the Flag Presentation before the game, and while the ceremony is being televised the announcers will share details about freemasonry. You may represent with the regalia of whichever Masonic Body you choose. In addition to that, we will have informational booths in two locations upstairs, two locations downstairs and a spot in Touchdown Town outside in the tailgate area! These booths will provide information about freemasonry, as well as all of our appendant bodies and youth organizations.

Ticket are available on the Grand Lodge website in 3 price ranges, $61.00, $98.00 and $136.00. We encourage individual members to purchase tickets for themselves and for family members, and we also encourage local Bodies to purchase tickets for their officers! Make this an event in your uniforms, Aprons and Jewels! In addition, we will have an opportunity to go down onto the field after the game for about 30 minutes for post game photos.


The deadline to purchase tickets is July 1st and they are going fast, so don't wait, get yours now. This opportunity is one we do not want to let slip by, so we hope you will join us at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 23rd for Masonic Day.  Go to www.IndianaFreemasons.com to order yours.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Man Sets Himself On Fire While Trying To Burn Down Lodge

From the Daily Mail

A bumbling arson suspect is feeling the burn after he appears to have set himself on fire while trying to burn down a building in Ohio last week.

Adding significant insult to the clumsy injury is the fact that it appears that this is the second time the alleged firebug has failed to burn down the same building, a Masonic Temple in West Toledo.


And not only did the ham-handed flame-thrower set himself on fire while failing to burn down the temple, video of the entire humiliating incident was recorded by surveillance cameras - and released onto the Internet by authorities looking to track down the culprit.According to authorities in West Toledo, the suspect attempted to burn down the Masonic temple at 5025 Secor Road about 4:56 a.m. Monday.


Surveillance cameras recorded the unidentified suspect drive up to the temple, get out of his vehicle and walk towards the building. 


Shortly after the suspects walks towards the building, a burst of light is seen coming from the side of the Temple as the suspect is seen scampering away.


When the fire appears to burn out, the suspect is seen running towards the building, apparently to try again. When he backed away, the man's hand appeared to be on fire.He then jumped in his car and drove off.


Police in West Toledo say that fire officials determined that the suspect had used a patio brick with a burning rag attached to it to break a window at the temple on the north side of the building. The rag, officials say, was found on the lawn.


At the end of the day, the failed flaming brick did about $300 in damage. 


Authorities say someone attempted to set the same temple on fire on May 14. 


An investigation is ongoing to determine who attempted to set the building on fire, and whether the two attempts are related.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Saturday in Louisville 5/31

I'll be speaking in Louisville, KY on Saturday at the Scottish Rite. Light food will be available at 4:00PM, and I will start at around 4:45PM.

The Scottish Rite is located at 200 East Gray Street in Louisville.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Masonic Restoration Foundation Symposium 8/15-17

The Fifth Annual Masonic Restoration Foundation Symposium will be held in Cincinnati on August 15-17, 2014. Speakers and workshops focus on enabling Masons and Lodges to improve their Masonic experience. The cost of the symposium is $100, and this is a brethren-only event.

Link

This year's symposium will be jointly hosted by four Lodges:  Lodge Vitruvian No. 767 of Indiana, Caliburn Lodge No. 785 and Arts & Sciences Lodge No. 792 of Ohio, and Lodge Ad Lucem No. 812 of Pennsylvania.

Link

They represent the full spectrum of observant Lodges, from European Concept, to Traditional Observance. The support of the Grand Lodges of Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania are gratefully acknowledged.

Link

Make reservations at the Holiday Inn Cincinnati Airport Hotel at 1717 Airport Exchange Boulevard in Erlanger, Kentucky. Attendees should request the 2014 MRF Symposium rate of $92 per night when making their reservations.

Link

Once you have registered for the Masonic Restoration Foundation Symposium, and made your reservations with the Holiday Inn Cincinnati Airport Hotel, go to the Facebook event page and indicate you are going.

Link

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sir Knight Carson Smith Makes Cover of KT Magazine

My good friend, Brother and Sir Knight Carson Smith, PC, KYCH, KCT made the cover of this month's Knight Templar magazine, posing with Grand Master David Goodwin. Carson is featured for his incredible recruitment efforts, bringing in 135 petitioners for the Order of the Temple since his own knighting on November 8, 2004. During the same period he has been the top line signer for the equivalent number of petitioners for the degrees of the Scottish Rite. When asked for the secret of his successful recruitment, he answers simply, "I ask." He has developed a presentation for a Lodge of Master Masons entitled 'The Three Minute Drill.' It is available by request at carson.c.smith@gmail.com.

Carson is also this year's Master of Indianapolis' Lodge Vitruvian #767, Indiana's only European Concept Lodge.

Congratulations, my friend!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Summer International Masonic Workshop in Greece, 8/27-31, 2014

The list of Keynote Speakers at the Summer 2014 International Masonic Workshop that will be held in Greece, between Wednesday August 27th and Sunday August 31st 2014, has been finalized. The organizers have invited several distinguished speakers, who will deliver papers and lectures:
 
Antti Talvitie, Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of Finland and Past Master of the Research Lodge Minerva Lodge No. 27, under the Grand Lodge of Finland: «Freemasonry: an ever more secular society».
 
Dr. Anna Zarkada, Assistant Professor of Marketing in the Department of Business Administration, in the Athens University of Economics and Business. Her current work focuses on personal branding, corporate reputation co-production on Web2.0, service pricing and the philosophical foundations of key marketing constructs: «Crafting the Craft's reputation in the 21st century».
 
Robert Bashford, Leading Masonic researcher and lecturer, Past Grand Officer of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, and editor of the renowned masonic website irishfreemasonry.com«The Dissemination of Masonic Knowledge in the 21st Century».
 
Dr. Evelin Durie, Doctor of Political Science and History, academic researcher and lecturer, and author of a pioneer in Greek academic context doctoral thesis that focused on the freemasonry in the Ionian Islands: «The Masonic community inCorfu at the time of the Napoleonic occupation (1807-1814). Between a Napoleonic and a local lodge».
 
Dr. Ric Berman, author of the Foundations of Modern Freemasonry and Schism, Past Master of the Marquis of Dalhousie lodge, No. 1159, and Temple of Athene Lodge, No. 9541, the Middlesex Research Lodge, Treasurer of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, and holder of Provincial and London Grand Rank: «The Grand Architects».
 
John Belton, Leading Masonic researcher and lecturer, founding Senior Warden of Internet Lodge 9659 under the United Grand Lodge of England, and also a member of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, Lodge Ellangown 716 in Scotland and of other orders: «Revolutionary and Socialist Fraternalism 1848 - 1870: London to the Italian Risorgimento».
 
The Honorary Keynote Speaker of the Workshop, Dr. Mike Kearsley, Secretary of Quator Coronati Lodge No. 2076 and appointed Prestonian Lecturer for 2014, will present some aspects of his prestonian lecture: «1814 - Consolidation and Change. The first year of the United Grand Lodge of England», during a specially designed unique session named «Food for Thought», in attendance by the participants and their accompanied persons.
 
Following the keynote presentations, the program of the Workshop will include:
                                                                                                                                                         
Thematic Sessions: Individual paper presentations that will be organized into thematic areas. Papers on a common topic, or representing different perspectives on an issue, will be presented sequentially in a session.
 
Roundtable Discussions: Invited distinguished speakers will have an assigned table during a session to review and discuss the most recent topics concerning Freemasonry.
 
Short papers presentations: Individual delegates will present their short papers.
 
The Summer International Masonic Workshop that will be held in AthensGreece, between Wednesday August 27th and Sunday August 31st 2014, is being organized by PHILOTECTON.
 
PHILOTECTON is a voluntary association of Freemasons, who in attendance of many conferences, workshops, symposiums in Europe for many years, wish to expand their knowledge of Freemasonry and to establish various interdisciplinary events for studying the history, the philosophy and the symbolism of Freemasonry and to publish papers and lectures on various masonic topics.
 
PHILOTECTON, by the INTERNATIONAL MASONIC EVENTS project, aims to widen and deepen research in all aspects of Freemasonry: to broaden the focus of research, to encourage the work of academic and non-academic, freemason and non-freemason researchers and to organize workshops, symposiums, and conferences.
 
PHILOTECTON is not a Masonic organization. As is not involved itself in the legislative or ritualistic deliberations of any Masonic body, is confirming that the Summer International Masonic Workshop, that will be held in Athens, Greece, between Wednesday August 27th and Sunday August 31st, 2014, is not in any way a tyled event nor is there going to be any associated tyled meetings.
 
 
Further information: www.masonic-events.org 
               
 

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Prince Hall Grand Lodge Building in Massachusetts Faces Foreclosure

A foreclosure auction has been scheduled for the Prince Hall Grand Lodge building in Dorchester, Massachusetts on Thursday, April 17, according to a legal notice
The 30,000-square-foot building is located on about one acre at 18-24 Washington St. The auction will be held on siteThe nonprofit organization took out a $300,000 mortgage in 2006 from Sovereign Bank, now Santander Bank. The note was recently sold to Northborough Capital Partners when the group failed to make payments.Shectman Halperin Savage LLP, the law firm representing the lender,and Lodge officials did not return calls seeking comment.On its website, the Prince Hall Grand Masonic Lodge calls itself the oldest black fraternal organization in North America.

A letter has been sent out to Prince Hall members, but it seems like awfully short notice. It reads as follows:

Greetings Prince Hall Family, Friends and Supporters;

May this email find you and yours in good health and spirit. As you may or may not know, the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Jurisdiction of Massachusetts is currently dealing with a serious crisis. Our Masonic Temple and adjacent land, located at 24 Washington Street Dorchester, Massachusetts is scheduled to be auctioned on April 17, 2014.

Like several other area organizations and churches we are not exempt from the negative effects of a bad economy. In our case and due largely to the actions of our past mortgage holder (Sovereign Bank), we are currently faced with foreclosure on our beloved Grand Lodge Temple.

In order to resolve this terrible crisis, your help in the way of monetary donations and prayers is necessary. If you would like to help the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Jurisdiction of Massachusetts (Where Prince Hall Freemasonry Worldwide Began) in this hour of great need with a tax-deductible donation, please click on the link. "

Click Here toDonate

Please donate whatever you can and please don't be modest. No donation is too big or small. Every act of generosity is needed and appreciated. Just click on the above link and make your donation using your PayPal account, credit or debit card.

Whether you are able to make a donation or not, please forward this plea to everyone you know. We can make it through these hard times with your help and generous donation.

If you prefer to use a check or money order, please make it payable to; The Prince Hall Foundation, Inc. and put "Building Relief Fund" in the memo section and send it to:
Prince Hall Grand Lodge
24 Washington Street
P.O. Box 227
Boston, MA 02121

No act of kindness however large or small will go unrecognized. Thank you in advance for your generosity and support. 

Sincerely, M.W. Compton R. Jones Grand Master
The Prince Hall Foundation is an IRS 501(c) 3 tax-exempt organization

Click Here to Donate

UPDATE:
Here is the link again. It worked for me:
https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=9HGUYlbxx16TaJcNdLJhccLJTFgJ__Rgg4JgMdoL-7RBshCKfRNtG2KQos8&dispatch=5885d80a13c0db1f8e263663d3faee8d8cdcf517b037b4502f6cc98f1ee6e5fb

Codes & Conspiracies: Freemasons Sunday at 10PM on AHC.

Alice and I were interviewed last April for onscreen segments of a show that is finally airing this next week. Even the title hadn't been picked at the time. Well, it finally airs this Sunday on the American Heroes Channel (formerly the Military Channel) at 10:00 PM. "Codes and Conspiracies: Freemasons" is a title only a mother could love.

For our parts, we were called in to discuss the role of Freemasonry during the American Revolution. They had me walk the procession route from Gatsby's Tavern in Alexandria, Virginia, down to Jones Point where the Masons laid the first cornerstone of the District of Columbia. It was nice to see the Parks Department has added some signage to the lighthouse explaining the significance of the place, along with a pane of glass which allows you to see the boundary marker hidden in the seawall - something you used to have to hike down into the flotsam of the Potomac River to get to.

I believe (it's been a year) that the director told me that Akram Elias, PGM of the District of Columbia, also appears on the show.

I make no promises about the content of the show, apart from our short parts. And even that, God knows what the editorial process did to us.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Masonic Society 5th Anniversary Jewel Promotion Ends 4/30/2014

For those of you who have not yet joined The Masonic Society, the promotion in which you receive the beautiful TMS 5th Anniversary commemorative jewel free of charge just for becoming a member will end on April 30. All membership applications sent by mail must be postmarked no later than April 30. If you register online, you must do so prior to midnight on April 30. The jewel will remain available in the TMS store for $12 (including shipping) for members who have not joined during this promotion period.

To join, go to www.themasonicsociety.com

Thursday, April 03, 2014

GL of Virginia Prohibits Transgendered Petitioners

On March 20, 2014, Wayne S. Flora, Grand Master of Virginia, issued the following edict (as well as change in petition format) governing rules for membership of transgendered persons in lodges holden under the Grand Lodge of Virginia:

Freemasonry traditionally being a Fraternity of good men, no person shall become or remain a Mason who does not continue to remain both physically and legally a male or who does not continue to present and conduct himself as such. 
The petition for membership now requires members to avow that they were born a male and continue as a male.

To my knowledge, this is the first time a U.S. Grand Lodge has dealt with the issue of transgendered members. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.

Read the whole edict here.

See also the blog entry by Jason Richards.

H/T Bill Hosler

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Wilkes-Barre, PA Temple Catches Fire

The Masonic Temple in Wilkes-Barre. Pennsylvania caught fire on Tuesday, causing major damage to the historic building. Fire officials have not yet determined the cause.
A fire Tuesday afternoon damaged the Masonic Temple on North Franklin Street.
The cause is under investigation and a fire inspector was on scene around 2 p.m., roughly an hour after the alarm came in, said Wilkes-Barre Fire Chief Jay Delaney.
“It’s very preliminary. The fire started about an hour ago. We just got it under control,” Delaney said as smoke still wafted from the four-story brick building.
“We’re still having a tough time getting all the residual heat and smoke out of the building,” he said.
“It’s like a maze inside there with multiple, multiple rooms in there,” Delaney said. “A lot of the smoke and heat got trapped inside of the building, that’s why it took a long time to extinguish. But it’s under control. The fire’s out. We’re just mopping up right now.”
Three Masonic Lodges use the building, but it was unoccupied at the time of the fire. A meeting was scheduled for Tuesday night.
Delaney said there was power to the building and firefighters arrived to find heavy fire on the first floor. Black smoke billowed from the front door and windows.
Firefighters broke some windows, but overall they fought the fire in a manner to protect the historical value of the building. “We really tried to limit the damage to the building,” Delaney said.
Police closed North Franklin street between West Union and West Market streets during the fire. A steady stream of people walked by and some stopped to take photos.
A member of one of the lodges, who did not want to give his name, said the building is insured. He said there is a lobby on the first floor. Along the sides are five rooms and restrooms. A kitchen is located in the rear. There are meeting rooms on the second and third floors. The fourth floor is vacant.
“The building is so big we still had to do a search of the entire building, every single room of the building to make sure there was no one in there,” Delaney said.

"The Geometry of Mystery: Secret Societies, Ineffable Names, & Ancient Egypt"

Please Join Signet Chapter Royal Arch Masons For
"The Geometry of Mystery: Secret Societies, Ineffable Names, & Ancient Egypt"
Presented by guest lecturer
Adam G Kendall
Archivist of the Grand Lodge Library & Museum
Monday April 7th • 7.30pm
Social 6pm - Dinner 6.30pm - Stated Meeting & Lecture 7.30pm
Dinner is $12 for Non-Members & FREE to members of Signet Chapter
Van Nuys Masonic Center
14750 Sherman Way, Van Nuys, CA 91405-2214
This is a Tiled Event - You Must Be a Royal Arch Mason to attend
Reservations required - RSVP to email@sfvyrb.org

H/T David Williams

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

GL of Connecticut Encouraging Corporate Partnerships to Refurbish Older Temples

The Grand Lodge of Connecticut has instituted a wonderful parnership program with corporate sponsors to help rejuvinate older lodge halls. From the Tao of Masonry: (unless this is just one of Bro. Accousti's April Fools pranks)

One of the items that is being overlooked in the agenda for the upcoming Grand Lodge of Connecticut Annual Communication is a bold initiative to help finance the rejuvenation of the state’s older lodge buildings, a plan that may be the first of its kind in the North America, and which may be the key toward not only rejuvenating the buildings, but revitalizing the lodges, themselves.
Like most of the areas of the northeastern US, Connecticut has a number of older lodge buildings, many of them built in the early 1900s or even before. While many of these buildings are located in the center of their respective towns, these historic buildings were often poorly maintained, and the funds for much needed capital improvements were often neglected by the members from the 1960s until today. Indeed, it’s not unusual for lodges to lack air conditioning or updated heating systems, proper kitchen and dining areas, or in some cases, even modern bathroom facilities.
“While some members of the fraternity might see their facilities as ‘quaint,’ the sad fact is that many members of the public, including potential members, see them as ‘antiquated,’ ‘dated,’ or just plain ‘old,’ and it becomes a real turn-off,” said Grand Master Simon LaPlace. “Unfortunately, many of the lodges were short-sighted and skimped on saving money for improvements, and with the lack of new members, they simply can’t afford to put the necessary thousands of dollars into building improvements, and many of them are just barely able to keep up with the basic maintenance. This is why we are introducing this plan, which should help them to raise the money to bring the facilities up to date.”
The new program, called the Building & Organization Allied Sponsorship, or BOAS, allows lodges to partner with local or even national businesses and organizations in order to have a committed source of revenue that would be put toward building and grounds improvements, and updating the facilities inside the buildings. Lodges could look forward to new or updated lighting, handicap access, internet and wifi service, and cable tv, as well as kitchen and dining equipment, general upkeep, and yes, even more modern bathroom facilities.
When questioned about the criticisms that BOAS would lead to Freemasonry as being seen as “too public,” the Grand Master dismissed the concerns. “Corporate sponsored venues have been around for years,” he said. “A few large corporations put their names on ball fields, and nobody bats an eye. But a business puts a name on a small, little lodge, and everyone loses their minds.” Indeed, a quick survey showed that most people could not remember the previous names of the Xfinity Theater or the Comcast Theaters, although most people also did not remember that Toyota now sponsors the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford — ironically, the town in which the Grand Lodge of Connecticut is located.
A large concern for some is that the Connecticut Grand Lodge gets a percentage of the BOAS funds, and will start pressuring all of the state lodges or buildings to find businesses to partner with, or worse, may penalize some of the lodges for not doing so. “Grand Lodge needs to make money, too,” responded Grand Master Simon LaPlace. “None of those guys complaining think twice about spending money on a mocha latte several times a week; but if Grand Lodge asks for a five or ten dollar per member increase, suddenly we’re the evil empire. Sure, times are tough, but we’re talking about giving up the equivalent of a couple of coffees and donuts in a year.” He looked around and added “And believe me, many of our brothers could certainly afford to go without a donut once in a while.”
Not surprisingly, not all of the Masons are happy about this program. “It’s nothing more than plain, old Grand Lodge greed. They don’t actually care about the lodges, they just care about getting their cut of the action.” said one Past Master who refused to be named. “That’s not what we used to do back in the old days,” said another, “Back in 1968, when I was Master of the lodge, when we needed money, the wives around the lodge would help hold a bake sale, and we hit everyone with a ten dollar special assessment. Why, we once raised over a thousand dollars, which was enough to put on whole a new roof!”
That’s not the attitude voiced by everyone, however. Many more members, and not necessarily the younger ones, seem to approve of BOAS. Several lodges around the state have already been testing the idea, and indeed, at least one partnership is in the final stages. “We have been fortunate to partner with a large, nationally recognized corporation that is known for its aggressive community outreach,” said a District Deputy from the 4th District. “We are just finalizing some details, like the new sign placement and promotional spots, and within a few weeks everybody should be seeing some big changes at the new McDonald’s Masonic Center of New Haven.”
For the rest of the article, go to the Tao of Masonry.